First United Methodist Church, Pineville continues “Backpacks for Children” program
Members of First United Methodist Church in Pineville continue to support “Backpacks for Children,” an outreach to children in need through the Central Louisiana Food Bank.
For $135 per school year, the Food Bank sends a backpack filled with kid-friendly food home with a child every weekend. This year, the Food Bank identified 1,128 children in Central Louisiana who could benefit from this kind of assistance.
First UMC began their involvement during the conference-wide “Day of Caring,” held last May. The church continues that support and has expanded the number of children they are sponsoring in the program.
“Our church-wide goal last August was to sponsor 15 children. Instead we are sponsoring 36 local children for the entire school year. That’s a donation of $4,860,” said Ann Parvin, chair of the church’s “Food for the Hungry” Task Force.
Display boards and backpacks filled with sample foods have been placed at church entrances during Sunday services. Guest speakers, notices in the church newsletter and even a children’s sermon focusing attention on the project have all been incorporated in the church’s effort to raise awareness and funds for the backpack initiative.
“Individuals, Sunday school classes, UMW circles, youth groups and our children’s program all got involved in this project. It was truly a multi-generational effort to be the hands and heart of Jesus,” said Rev. Ricky Willis, pastor.
When Parvin received a call in January from the Food Bank explaining that the children’s backpacks were getting worn out, she passed on the message that replacement backpacks were needed. Once again, First UMC stepped up and collected funds to replace the tattered packs.
“We are so pleased to help with this excellent local mission project,” said Rev. Mark Martin, associated pastor. “Even our children have raised funds through their Valentine’s Day bake sale.”